THE era of economic liberalisation since the early 1990s was witness to a paradigm shift from a largely state-guided to a market-driven framework for the Indian economy, thereby leading to significant changes in the country’s economic system. Different products and markets have been thrown open, drastically as well as internationally, leading to an overall accelerated growth, driven largely by the consumption factor of the elite. However, the same period, that is, the growth rate of commodity in producing sectors has come under pressure with the condition of the masses showing no marked improvement. The regime change has not only discouraged public investment but also prompted the State to withdraw from important sectors and grant exemption and concessions to the capitalist class as a whole on the pretext of protecting their confidence in the economy. In other words, the book points out that India’s fiscal policy has been influenced considerably by the neo-liberal economic policy discourse.
Prabhat Patnaik sets the tone of the subject by mapping out the hostility of finance capital against government interventions.
CP Chandrasekhar argues that a striking feature of the period since 1989-90 till the current decade was that despite evidence of higher growth rates and signs of growing inequality, there was no improvement in the country’s ability to garner a larger share of resources to finance expenditure it considered crucial, largely on account of the tax concessions provided during the years of liberalisation.
SL Shetty expresses grave concern over the rapidly deteriorating socio-economic indicators, economic inequality and social deprivation which are likely to threaten the very social fabric, political stability and economic progress of India. He maps a whole gamut of issues relating to several dimensions of socio-economic inequality.
Saumen Chattopadhyay raises serious questions on the willingness of the government to tap potential resources.
T.M. Thomas Isaac and R. Ramakumar argue that 85 per cent of the social sector expenditure in India is spent through state government budgets, the fiscal capacity of the states playing a dominant role in determining the strength of any counter-cyclical fiscal policy of the Central Government.
Jayati Ghosh argues that despite a clear division of powers and responsibilities among different tiers of the government.
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